Food & Drink

Where to Drink in Seattle This New Year's Eve

Updated On 12/08/2017 at 05:51PM EST Updated On 12/08/2017 at 05:51PM EST
Canon Seattle

Canon

Capitol Hill

The Seattle craft cocktail bar
The awards bestowed on this bar range from “World’s Best Cocktail Menu,” to "One of the Most Beautiful Bars in Seattle", and “Best Bathrooms in Seattle,” but the truth is, it's hard to come up with something here that doesn’t deserve an award. The spirit list is one of the longest in the world and the captain’s list holds some rare and old treasures, while the cocktail menu is innovative and filled with creative new ways to build a drink. Sadly, the secret patio isn’t open in the cooler months, but the darkness brings about a seasonal favorite here: the truffle Old Fashioned.

Rumba Seattle

Rumba

Capitol Hill

A refined island escape in Pike/Pine
A Caribbean vacation in bar form, this rum-driven spot brings everything an island vacation needs, like turquoise décor, tropical cocktails, and plantain chips. You’ll have to trade away the sunshine, but in return, your cocktail will be better than anything ever served poolside -- with or without the tiny umbrella.

Flickr/thesqueedler

Linda's Tavern

Capitol Hill

The Town's quintessential dive bar
Linda’s is the platonic ideal of a Northwest bar, with good music, a vaguely woodsy vibe (provided in part by a taxidermied buffalo head above the bar), and plenty of Rainier tall boys. With more than two decades under its belt, this bar has laid out the welcome mat for Seattle’s most famous celebrities -- it is supposedly the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive -- and its newest citizens alike, all without fanfare. Just a drink and a dark corner from which to watch the world go by. Also, their bathrooms are really nice. Just kidding, but the Cobain thing is true.

Courtesy of Bottlehouse

Bottlehouse

Madrona

A wine bar you'll never want to leave
It’s just like your home, only the maid came, the cook’s here, and suddenly, the living room shelves are lined with wine bottles. This converted house brings all the comforts of home (with a lovely patio to boot) together with a well-curated wine bar. Taste through what’s open, have a glass and relax, or pay a small corkage to open any of the bottles in the store.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Essex

Ballard

Trendy cocktail bar with food from one of Seattle's best pizza places
With its whale print wallpaper and house-made liqueurs, Essex sometimes feels like it’s ticking imaginary boxes off a trends checklist. But while showcasing what’s cool, it also puts out what’s good: an Americano on tap, a barrel-aged drink mixing aquavit, Cocchi Americano, and gentian, and food straight from the wood-fired oven of sibling/neighbor Delancey.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Loretta's Northwesterner

South Park

Authentic dive with the fourth-best burger in America
A few years ago it would have felt dangerous talk about Loretta’s out loud: Any minute, it could have been invaded by tech bros/tourists and the perfectly dingy, laid-back vibe of the place would have been gone forever. Well, we don't have to worry about that anymore, because first Josh Henderson of Westward, etc. brought the Vice cameras by for a Chef's Night Out, and then we went and told the world that this out of the way bar makes one of the country's best burgers. Oops. But luckily the place hasn't really changed, and the burger definitely hasn't, so you'd better start figuring out where South Park is already.

Chuck's Hop Shop Central District

Chuck's Hop Shop

Greenwood

Your favorite brewer's favorite bar
Once a place to pick up cigarettes and malt liquor, this old corner store has undergone a slow but complete transformation into one of Seattle's leading beer bars (and spawned a second location in the Central District). Inside, 41 taps spill over with brews of all styles -- though the focus is on IPAs -- and they still sell a few snacks held over from the shop's previous incarnation, while outside you'll find a small patio and a rotating selection of Seattle's most popular food trucks.

Foreign National

Foreign National

Capitol Hill

An ambitious bar with unconventional cocktails
This distinctive drink destination from the people behind next door's acclaimed Stateside was only open a few weeks when people started calling it Seattle's “best bar” of 2016, and the accolades haven't stopped since. The same combination of street food with an urban, upscale style employed by Stateside works even better here, where they're taking even more risks in the form of molecular mixology and pungent asian flavors, like coconut and curry that compete for space on a menu that also offers lemongrass ice cream banana splits.

The Nest

The Nest at the Thompson Seattle

Downtown

Rooftop spot with stunning views of Puget Sound
Historically Seattle's watering holes have remained, for the most part, firmly rooted on the ground floor, but that's started to change recently thanks to a spate of high (great pun totally intended) profile openings led by the Nest, which boasts a sprawling patio, a cozy indoor space, and a sleek modern bar. Not to mention absolutely unbeatable views over Elliot Bay and Puget Sound, and the alcoholic Otter Pop on the menu. Enough said.

E. Smith Mercantile

E. Smith Mercantile Back Bar

Pioneer Square

Elegant, old-timey cocktail bar hidden in a haberdashery
It barely even qualifies as a bar. Seriously, it's simply a dozen or so seats around horseshoe-shaped counter at the back of a dry goods/gift shop, but if you're lucky enough to find it, well then you've discovered a whimsical world of house-made tinctures, and charmingly anachronistic touches (the Campari actually gets its color from little red beetles like they all used to).

Knee High Stocking Co

Knee High Stocking Co.

Capitol Hill

Secretive speakeasy... now with more space
When it opened almost 10 years ago, on what was then an out-of-the-way block on Olive, KHSC was at the cutting edge of a speakeasy resurgence. But now, in an effort to keep up with the times, it has expanded its Filipino-inspired menu (they even do brunch), and expanded the bar itself by adding a slightly misshapen subterranean space with rich wallpaper and a crystal chandelier. This effort has more than doubled the space and made it so you don't have to text ahead to get a seat anymore. One the thing that hasn't changed: there's still almost no way to tell there's a bar there from the street. 

The 5 Point Cafe

5 Point Cafe

Belltown

Iconic 24-hour dive in the shadow of the Space Needle
We were tempted to go with one of Seattle's other famous dives (like The Mecca, which was actually opened by the same guy who started the 5 Point) but we did label this occasionally rowdy spot with a 6am breakfast happy hour, and nude Polaroids hanging behind the bar the most iconic drinking establishment in the state a couple of years ago. So for the sake of editorial consistency, the bar’s lively scene at the edge of Seattle's booming Westlake neighborhood, and the aforementioned breakfast happy hour, we had to go with the 5 Point.

Barnacle

Barnacle

Ballard

Amaro-focused bar with a new national reputation
When Renee Erickson opened this petite (less than 800 square feet), bar next to her renowned Walrus & The Carpenter, it was basically treated like a place to get a drink while you waited for a seat next door. But thanks to a highly curated collection of Italian Amaro-based cocktails, and a place on Esquire's list of the 24 best bars in America, this nautically named bar has stepped firmly out of the admittedly long shadow cast by its neighbor and made a name for itself far beyond Seattle.

No Anchor Beer Bar

No Anchor

Belltown

Fun beer and fine dining at the same time
Owned by the same couple behind Seattle's legendary Rob Roy (going there is one of the most festive things to do in Seattle this year), and the brand new -- almost equally great -- Navy Strength next door, No Anchor gets the nod because... well, because we couldn't exactly put all three on the list. And because NA's combination of "weird beer + rad food" make it an almost perfect expression of Seattle right now. Creative, casual, and upwardly mobile, but with just the right amount of fun.

Commonwealth Seattle

Commonwealth

Belltown

Possibly the perfect urban drinking experience
Set off an alley between Third & Fourth near Bell, this dark, comfortable bar -- decorated by a giant stained glass star salvaged from Charlie's on Broadway, and an eclectic mix of homey furniture -- walls off the outside world. It plies you with the kind of warm whiskey-based cocktails and slightly Southern-inspired comfort foods (shrimp & grits, mac & cheese, etc.) that'll make you forget about everything else. And get you through our endless gray winters with ease.  

The Pine Box

Pine Box

Capitol HIll

The best beer bar in a city that's full of them
One of the best beer bars in America (seriously, it’s good), the PB is located in a stunning old funeral home with a vaulted ceiling and tons of dark polished wood. It also takes an appropriately worshipful approach to the 30+ brews on tap, some of which they even pour through a flavor-infusing filter, giving them a... killer flavor. Thank you, thank you.

Alchemy West Seattle

Alchemy

West Seattle

Pursuing the perfect cocktail in the Junction
Slightly out of place in the super-casual West Seattle (or perhaps a sign of things to come as the 'hood continues to grow), this elegant, apothecary-inspired spot is serving up seasonal cocktails made with a farm-to-table (garden-to-glass?) respect for ingredients, and a precise, almost scientific approach to mixology. The result is a range of meticulous drinks including the Black & White made with activated charcoal infused Bombay Dry, and the rye-based Bon Fire, which has a bunch of ingredients, including "house-made funky orange bitters," that are stirred then smoked in a beaker and served with a large ice cube you pour the whole thing over at your table.

Bathtub Gin & Co.

Bathtub Gin & Co.

Belltown

An intimate, and influential, Prohibition-era cocktail bar
Though it can still be a little hard to find thanks to its largely unmarked entrance off an alleyway, the secret's been out on this speakeasy-style bar for the better part of a decade. It makes some of the best cocktails in the city (like the bourbon/fig & maple syrup/lemon juice Death Star), all in a tiny, two-level space with a tin ceiling, and, surprise, an actual bathtub in the middle of the floor.

Herb & Bitter Public House

Herb & Bitter Public House

Capitol Hill

A stunning bar with some equally stunning drinks
We once named it Seattle’s best cocktail bar, thanks to a smart and mature drink menu centered around Italian amari (aperitifs, digestifs, and fernets, etc.) and one of the most beautiful bars in the city. It’s in a spectacular space, with a dark tin ceiling, a beautiful chandelier, and an oversized patio with a retractable roof that might be one of Seattle's best outdoor drinking spots.

The Sovereign

The Sovereign

Pioneer Square

A gorgeous subterranean bar with a great happy hour
Step down into this subterranean space from the same people behind the Forge Lounge and let the underlit art nouveau bar -- and well-worn tile floor -- transport you back in time. And if that doesn't do it than the ridiculously old-school price point of their happy hour cocktails ($4!) definitely will.

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1. Canon 928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

This snug bespoke whiskey bar and bitters emporium makes up for its cozy quarters with an astounding collection of wine and spirits (peep the 94-page menu!). If that weren't reason enough to check out this Capitol Hill spot, Canon Whiskey holds the title for having the largest selection of American whiskey in the world... score!

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2. Rumba 1112 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

If you like rum and anything Tiki-related, hit Rumba and enjoy a selection of over 250 different kinds of rum, and a small but deliciously packed menu. Inspired by '50s-era Havana drinking rooms, Rumba's boozy and fruity libations pair well with a menu of Caribbean eats like baked empanadas, jerk chicken wings, and pork belly tostones.

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3. Linda's Tavern 707 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122

A classic pub in Seattle, Linda's prides itself on being "a nice place for nice people".

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4. Bottlehouse 1416 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

In a cozy, converted house in the Central District, Bottlehouse is a wine bar, tasting room, and event space featuring regional wine and microbrews. Wine and beer selections are rotating, highlighting producers from the PNW, and can be enjoyed on tap, in a tasting flight, by the bottle, or in the comfort of your own home. Cork a bottle of your favorite local wine, (pick up some wine-wares from the shop so you can drink it at home), and sip the local juice you never knew you loved. Bottlehouse offers a taste of the Pacific Northwest, with cheesemonger-approved cheeses and cured meats to pair in a living room-reminiscent environment, or on the back patio.

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5. Essex 1421 NW 70th Street, Seattle, WA 98117

This place is the perfect first date spot for hipsters.

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6. Liberty 517 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

Sushi and craft cocktails make a great pair at this Capitol Hill neighborhood eatery. Run by the President of the Washington State Bartender’s Guild/Vice President of the Washington Distillers’ Guild, this spot has a lot to live up to libation wise, and it delivers with a nice selection of well-made classic cocktails, house standards, and an extensive array of whiskey, vodka, tequila, and bourbon. Comfy couches make up for limited bar seating.

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7. Loretta's Northwesterner 8617 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

This hole in the wall doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it's home to one of Seattle's favorite joints for the simple pleasures in life -- that is, burgers and beer. Loretta's is known for its Tavern Burger, which, much like the bar itself, is simple and unfussy (it consists of a patty, cheese, raw white onions, pickles, and a bun), but its house-made sauce and overall juiciness packs a huge punch.

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8. Chuck's Hop Shop 656 NW 85th St, Seattle, WA 98117

Chuck's Hop shop has over 50 rotating taps, typically divided down the middle between cider and beer, and over 1,000 bottled beers. If you find something you like, kegs and growlers are also available. Come hungry and enjoy the patio while munching from a local food truck with always changing options to choose from.

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9. Foreign National 300 E Pike St Ste 1200, Seattle, WA 98122

The team behind Stateside opened a small, next door bar called Foreign National, and it will run under the same, Vietnamese influence. Capitol Hill’s Saigon speakeasy, open daily from 5pm to 1am, seats about 25 guests, and serves them Vietnamese-inspired cocktails and Asian street food-style snacks (get the chicken curry puffs). The lounge’s atmosphere and dim, almost nonexistent lighting make it a great spot for a date, or for cocktails before or after your dinner next door. Expect elevated, sometimes molecular tweaks on classics, like a Long Thailand Iced Tea, a cognac-kissed Singapore Sling, and a Sazerac stirred with liquid nitrogen. And all the Japanese whiskey you could ever want.

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10. The Nest at the Thompson Seattle 110 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101

Located atop the Thompson Hotel Downtown, The Nest is a 4500sqft cocktail lounge with indoor and outdoor seating, fireside couches, and unparalleled views of Puget Sound. From the team behind the Huxley Wallace Collective, The Nest offers small plates and a sizeable, varied cocktail list to guests. Some are classic, some are contemporary, some batched and bottled in-house, and others barrel-aged. Each cocktail comes with its very own tailored, hand-chipped ice -- different shapes and sizes, clear ice, ice infused with juice or with spirits, and transitional ice to transform your cocktail experience from first sip to last.

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11. Noble Barton 9635 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA

Noble Barton is White Center’s kid-friendly pub. It’s a casual bar-restaurant with a lodge-like atmosphere, and offers a full menu (a kids menu, to boot), as well as vintage pinball machines, shuffleboard, and a patio out back. Noble Barton is open daily from 9am to 10pm, and 11pm on weekends. The lunch and dinner menus feature classic pub-style dishes, like wings (pork or dragon), salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Breakfast is served daily until 3pm, with various scrambles, a breakfast sandwich, and French toast. The bar is full, beer, cider, and wine included, and a cocktail menu to round it out. Noble Barton is a great place to go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Bring your kids, or don’t.

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12. E. Smith Mercantile Back Bar 208 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

Shop till you drop at this boutique apothecary and mercantile, and then be sure to hit the Back Bar. Tucked away inside the shop (hence the name), Back Bar offers serious libations and intimacy in a 14-seater cocktail lounge. Order from a selection of craft cocktails made with rare and unusual liquors and refined small plates.